How to Cure you Own Ham And Bacon

As you will be using chemicals that are potentially lethal if used  incorrectly, please read this page several times before proceeding, and then if in any doubt please seek further advice.


How to turn a piece of pork into ham or bacon.

Injected Brine Cure Method

You will need the following

A Meat Marinade Injector

Here is the one I use,

ebay has many of these for sale don't be tempted to purchase the more expensive ones as they are all the same. I think I paid approx £6 incl postage.

A set of scales that are capable of weighing small amounts, (1/10 of a gram or 0.1 of a gram), this item is essential as the chemicals you are going to use, whilst quite safe if measured correctly, can cause serious illness and long lasting damage, or even kill if not measured correctly.

A set of normal scales to weigh the meat and water.

A clear plastic food grade re-sealable bag, large enough to hold the piece of meat that you are going to cure plus the curing liquid.

I purchased these from the UKs 99p store chain

The pack includes 6 assorted re-usable bags and a vacuum pump, and for under a Pound.............

I have added a link at the bottom of this page to another site 'Local Food Heroes Blog' which is owned by Phil Young, who is my Guru when it comes to curing meat, Phil has made a calculator that takes the guesswork out of the calculations.  

You simply enter the weight of the piece of meat and the calculator will do the rest of the calculations for you, even giving the required cure time.

Weigh the meat unwrapped note the weight down, do not rely on the weight on the label.

Enter these figures into the calculator

It will give you the amount of:-


Cooking salt



The Amount of Cure# 1 to use


Place the water into a saucepan and bring to boil, add the spices, herbs, salt and sugar, bring back to boil, stirring to ensure that the salt and sugar are dissolved.

Allow to cool until cold.

(To speed this up I boil half of the water with the other ingredients and then add the other half of the cold water whilst the boiled mixture is cooling).

When cold,  add the Cure#1,  and stir well

Strain an amount of liquid equal to 10% of the weight of the meat, the calculator will give you this amount.

Place meat on a tray and inject it in several places and from all sides with the strained liquid, if it runs out then re-inject until you are sure that saturation point has been reached.

Tip any residue into the container with the bulk of the cure liquid, place the meat into a zip lock re-sealable bag, and pour the liquid into this, remove as much air as possible from the bag, seal and place in the fridge.

The picture below is one of the actual reusable bags that I use, the bag in the picture contains a piece of beef brisket, on its way to becoming Pastrami.

The bag should be just big enough to take the meat and liquid comfortably,

so that the meat is sitting in the liquid and if possible just covering it.

 Turn over the bag containing the meat and cure  every day for the period of time shown in the calculator.

After the cure time is over take out and rinse the meat.

Pat dry with paper kitchen towel, cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

For Bacon

Slice and cook as you would usually cook .

For Ham

Cook slowly in hot water approx 80deg c until internal temperature has reached 73 – 75 degrees.

Remove from water and place in a poly bag with the air squeezed out and tied at the top, and drop the bag with the meat into cold water to cool quickly.

when completely cold lift meat out still in the bag and dry the bag. place in fridge for 24 hours for the flavours to develop.


For those interested

The chemistry of this is:-

Cure No 1 contains  potassium nitrite and cooking salt.

Cure # 1 is suitable for wet curing and curing meats that will be cooked. i.e Ham, Corned Beef etc.

Here are some more photos

A shoulder joint of pork purchased from Morrisons

during one of their special offers during Sept 2012

The piece of pork in after it has been cured and cooked for use as ham

The first slice removed

Ready for tea?

Here as promised is the link to the Local Food Heroes Blog and Phils excellent calculator. 

Click here for the calculator

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